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Taking A Giant Leap Across the Pond: My Decision to Study Abroad

There are many decisions that you have to make as you come of age that could alter the course of your life, and choosing to study abroad might be one of them. To me it was a no brainer! I wanted to go abroad since the moment I pressed commit in my Harvard Admissions portal. As a young child I would often watch Madeline on Disney Channel, especially on early mornings before school. I had been learning French since high school and my sophomore year of college I decided to renew my French studies. I had briefly taken a leave from the language my first-year at Harvard to focus my attention on learning Arabic, but still French beckoned me, and I was back in French class as though I had never left. 

This semester, my junior fall, I had to decide whether or not I wanted to leave home and everything I knew for a new place. This was a rather hard decision, because although I knew I wanted to study abroad, commiting to do so meant leaving Harvard, friends, and family behind for an entire 6 month period. Sometimes Harvard students experience what we call FOMO, or in other words fear of missing out. I think it is rather natural at this age and for most college students. Not only would I be leaving Harvard behind, but I would also be leaving home behind. As a local, from Dorchester, being away from my parents and younger siblings is something that I have never really had to do. I have never been truly away from home for more than two weeks at a time, and though I do not go home that often while in school, the comfort of knowing that home is only a 30-45 minute train ride away gives me ease.

Ultimately, I decided I would follow my gut. When else would I be given the opportunity to have Harvard fund my studies abroad? When else would I be able to live in a new place and learn about a new culture for six months? When else would I have the opportunity during college to step farther outside of my comfort zone than ever before? Not only do I have the opportunity of a lifetime in front of me, but it is also the reason why my parents came here in the first place, so that I could dream big, and fulfill those dreams. My mother has only ever been to two places: the Dominican Republic, where she is from, and the United States, her second home. I now have in my hands a ticket to a place that she has never been, but that she only dreamed I would get a chance to see. So off to Paris I will go.

With only less than four weeks remaining in my time here on campus, I find myself giving more, and loving more. The next time I step foot on Harvard Yard, in Eliot House, or anywhere else on campus I hope to have learned more and to have gained valuable insight into my time here. It is often so easy to get stuck in the midst of things while they are happening, and hopefully while abroad I will have the opportunity to reflect on my time here, and to decide just how I would like to end my experience at Harvard.

Bon Voyage to me! Paris get ready, here I come!

 

About the author

Hello! My name is Genesis De Los Santos, and I am a junior concentrating in History and Literature and living in Eliot House. I am the oldest of 4 and was born and raised in a Dominican household... View full profile

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